Accelerating Drug Discovery
Our Software Developers in Life Science Projects
In the field of life science and drug discovery, innovation and precision are key values. The development experienced in this domain results from the daily work of many experts at the intersection of science and technology. We interviewed developers who work for clients in the life science sector. Our engineers help shape the future of this field, introducing innovative solutions that impact our health and quality of life.
Meet our experts in the world of life science
We talked to Elżbieta Plesnar, a Senior Data Engineer who brings her years of experience working with data in various industries, not only drug discovery but also entertainment and banking, to life science projects.
Szymon Flakus, Software Engineer, shared his experiences creating workflows for data processing and delivering data to scientists in a format that allows them to write scripts and perform analyses independently.
Karol Bubała, a Scientific Software Developer, works on drug design, focusing on generating and evaluating chemical compounds that could potentially become medicines.
Paweł Weber, a Scientific Software Developer, specializes in processing genetic data, especially identifying links between genes and diseases.
We also spoke with Piotr Rożek, who works as a DevOps engineer in the AWS environment, and Łukasz Zawada, an AWS Cloud Infrastructure Architect & Senior DevOps Engineer, who ensures reliable cloud infrastructure for life science projects.
These discussions with experts revealed the fascinating world of life science and showed how crucial the evolving collaboration between IT specialists and scientists is. Now, we’d like to share these inspiring insights with you and delve into what really matters in life science projects.
Challenges in life science projects
While working on life science and drug discovery projects, our developers encounter challenges requiring specific skills and approaches. We asked them what aspects are crucial in their daily work and what challenges the life science industry presents.
Understanding differences in working with scientists
Elżbieta Plesnar, an experienced Senior Data Engineer, notes a significant difference in working with scientists compared to other industries. Scientists after years in academia feel strong ownership and responsibility. They often work in small groups and have holistic thinking but may not be used to split problems into smaller tasks and to work in agile environments. For developers, this means the need for a flexible approach, the ability to work and communicate in interdisciplinary teams and to share their experience.
Specifics of data and scientist requirements
Szymon Flakus, a Software Engineer working on data processing from biobanks, emphasizes the importance of understanding the specifics of data and scientists’ needs. Working on extracting phenotypes, which are sets of all the characteristics of an organism contributing to disease symptoms, requires a precise approach and adapting software solutions to scientific requirements.
Maintaining good programming practices
Karol Bubała, a Scientific Software Developer, emphasizes the importance of maintaining good programming practices, especially in collaboration with scientists, who often have a basic understanding of programming but may not be familiar with best practices for making software more efficient and scalable.
Another developer from Sigma IT Poland highlights the challenges of working with Product Owners in life science projects. These Product Owners possess in-depth domain knowledge but may lack experience in software development. The absence of structured processes in software development and the need to use tools rarely used in web applications make requirements gathering more complex.
Understanding business aspects OF DRUG DISCOVERY
Paweł Weber, a Scientific Software Developer, points out the significant challenge of understanding the project’s business aspects and adapting technical solutions to the specific needs of scientists.
Another developer notes that difficulties gathering business requirements stem from using unpopular, specialized terminology specific to a particular field.
Handling vast amounts of data
Piotr Rożek, working as a DevOps engineer in the AWS environment, and Łukasz Zawada, an AWS Cloud Infrastructure Architect & Senior DevOps Engineer, emphasize the need for effective data management in large-scale life science projects.
Łukasz Zawada underscores the necessity of software scalability, particularly in processing many samples simultaneously. He also mentions the challenges related to code volume, where the process is divided into multiple stages with separate repositories. In the case of issues, diagnosing the problem becomes exceptionally challenging.
It’s worth noting that software designers working in the life science domain need to tackle various challenges by combining technical knowledge with an understanding of the scientific and business aspects of projects. This interdisciplinary approach and flexibility are crucial in working in this fascinating field.
Success factors in life science projects
In the realm of life science and drug discovery projects, interdisciplinary teams often consist of scientists and programmers working side by side. Below, we present key factors that contribute to project success. Our experienced engineers explain what is important to achieve effective collaboration and deliver value to clients in this field.
Effective task organization
Elżbieta Plesnar, Senior Data Engineer, emphasizes the importance of good communication when working with scientists. She suggests breaking projects into smaller tasks, setting priorities, and holding regular meetings to ensure the project is going in the right direction. While working remotely, Elżbieta stresses the significance of discussing priorities with the team leader and effective project management. This leads to more organized and efficient work when people don’t have much chance to chat as they have in an office.
Project management tools
Elżbieta points out that project management methods, such as working in sprints and dedicated tools, are essential for effective collaboration with scientists. They provide structure, help software teams track project progress, and respond to changes. Piotr Rożek sees the effectiveness of graphical visualization tools, which aid in understanding project work. Another developer mentions that introducing Figma with detailed mock-ups of solutions and encouraging using Jira, a work management tool for software teams, helped in better project management.
In working on life science projects, clear communication is vital. Developers stress that regular questions and precise explanations are essential. Collaboration requires a flexible approach and adaptation to scientists’ needs, who often use specific language and scientific jargon.
Szymon Flakus, a Software Engineer, points to key elements in collaborating with scientists. Working with individuals with extensive scientific knowledge who act as intermediaries in scientist interactions is invaluable for understanding the project. This collaboration requires openness, curiosity, and an understanding of researchers’ needs from both technical and scientific perspectives.
Good programming practices
Karol Bubała, a Scientific Software Developer, emphasizes the importance of applying good programming practices when working with scientists. A strong programming background is essential, especially when collaborating with scientists who may not have programming experience.
Commitment, openness, and the right attitude
Łukasz Zawada highlights the importance of three key elements: openness, commitment, and the right attitude. Openness means that problems or challenges must be openly discussed with the client to find solutions together. Commitment involves sending a clear signal to the client that the team is trying to understand their needs. The right attitude involves combining professionalism with a friendly approach. In such an environment, communication occurs naturally and is easier.
Skills and personal traits
A survey among our experts reveals that patience, precision, curiosity, composure, adaptation to new domain concepts, and the ability to use visualization tools may be essential in working on life science projects.
At the beginning of a project, the client may be cautious, but over time, through the effective delivery of value and solutions, the team gains the client’s trust, notes Paweł Weber.
In summary, the key factors in life science projects are effective communication, understanding scientists’ needs, using project management tools, task organization, and openness to interdisciplinary collaboration. This combination of technical skills with flexibility and commitment contributes to the success of projects in this fascinating field.
Why are life science projects so attractive?
Projects in the field of life science attract many developers due to their unique characteristics and significance. We spoke to our engineers to understand what makes working in this industry attractive.
Impact on drug development and diagnostics
Szymon Flakus emphasizes that working on life science projects provides a great sense of satisfaction and significance. Collaborating on drug development and diagnostics allows developers to see how their work improves people’s health and lives. This is incredibly motivating and unique.
Appreciation of technology in projects
Karol Bubała is pleased to work in a project team that appreciates the role of technology and informatics in the life science domain. This opens opportunities for professional development and benefits both the team and the client.
Challenges and diversity
Life science projects are exceptionally diverse and require the resolution of complex problems. This makes the work challenging and never boring. Developers find new development opportunities in a continuous learning and adaptation process.
Role in innovative projects
Working on life science and drug discovery projects often combines innovation with science and technology. This is attractive to developers who want to be part of projects that contribute to progress in the fields of science and medicine.
The life science industry encourages collaboration between different disciplines. Interdisciplinary teams, where scientists and developers work together, create an inspiring work environment.
All these factors make working in the field of life science incredibly attractive to developers who seek meaning, challenges, and development opportunities. It’s an industry that fascinatingly combines technology and science, attracting creative and ambitious professionals.
The individuals we spoke with are experienced developers in the life science and drug discovery industry. Their continually updated knowledge and skills allow them to effectively tackle challenges associated with scientific and medical projects. They understand the importance of effective communication, apply good programming practices, and seamlessly integrate into the specifics of life science projects. Their dedication and expertise contribute to the success of projects that impact the development of medicines and diagnostics. We can be proud of our colleagues who create innovative solutions in the fields of science and medicine for leading pharmaceutical companies.